Tooth Fairy Chronicles, Part 5: End Game.

While I’m away, on vacation, I thought it might be nice to revisit some old friends. Or rather, old enemies. This post is Part Five of the Tooth Fairy Chronicles, originally published on Snickerpants.com.

***

If you’ve been following this Epic Saga of goblin vs. six-year-old then you already know that Catfish (the six year old) has been busy these last few weeks. After a week’s worth of riddling, he was ready to see how all this resolved itself.

Frankly, so was I.

In order to put this adventure to bed, I had to make the end both complete and satisfying or we were going to have problems. Catfish was still on a quest to capture Finkmeister so that he could prove his claim at school. That was becoming an increasingly frustrating endeavor for him because he didn’t know how to win.

I thought about it this for several days and identified five elements that must be addressed in order for Catfish to be victorious (and stop trying to catch Finkmeister).

1. It needed to be believable. Finkmeister would have real treasure, not a bunch of Legos and Hot Wheels. Though such a stash would be awesome, it would also a dead give-away that this was all a hoax. Finkmeister likes to steal cold, hard cash from kids, not their toys.

2. It needed to include proof that this was happening. Something Catfish could take to school and show off to everyone. He needed validation from his peers because Mom and Dad were sadly inadequate.

3. It had to be difficult.  Look, just because I’m his mom doesn’t mean that I’m going to let him slack-off in the end game. This is where the difficult bits come in. If it is too easy to figure out, then why go through all the bother? Stumbled-upon treasure isn’t as rewarding as hard-won treasure.

4. It had to be exciting and sinister and vaguely threatening. This goes without saying, right? The thrill of the hunt, chase, defense …whatever. It needed to feel real.

5. It needed to have a definitive answer. Without an answer we risk expectations of Finkmeister attacks later, after he loses the other seventeen thousand teeth he’s got in his mouth.

How the heck could I do all that?!? I had no idea so I did the next best thing: I winged it.

The day following the last, incoherent note from Finkmeister, he found this in the mailbox:

Just the right amount of sinister-yet-vague threat

Just the right amount of sinister-yet-vague threat

Now that it was certain he won the duel, he could breath easy. And he did. He visibly relaxed when he knew what to expect. A treasure hunt, with a map and everything!

I was terrified of drawing anything like a map, had no idea where to put it and couldn’t figure out how to make difficult riddles, so I began with building the treasure.

A short trip to the Goodwill and I had loads of loot.

Looks pretty treasure-hoardy to me.

Looks pretty treasure-hoardy to me.

But what sort of treasure hoard would this be without money? I’d be damned if I was gonna give that kid a ton of real, actual, this-stuff-will-buy-me-Legos Money even though I could have scrounged at least ten dollars in change from various nooks and crannies in this house.

It’s just that, including US dollars seemed so… demeaning to the whole purpose of this adventure. As soon as he saw real money, the dollar signs in his eyes would brainwash him into thinking we were going to the damned toy store.

No. We were definitely not doing that. Toys weren’t the reward here. Getting to figure out the mystery was the reward. Money would just be confusing. Besides, Finkmeister stole money from kids everywhere, not just the United States.

Clearly, this treasure hoard called for foreign currency!

I put a call out an FB to my peeps – for any and all foreign coins they were willing to donate. It was surprising to see such an outpouring of good will. Everybody had a few coins from foreign parts that they wanted to include in the Finkmeister hoard.

I had already started making plans to collect said monies when my dear, sweet husband actually took notice of my post.

Please note the date and time of Brian's first response.

Please note the date and time of Brian’s first response.

Then I went to the store and bought a handful of chocolate coins and tossed them in. Voila! the hoard was complete!

This looks promising...

This looks promising…

Now for the hiding and the map making.

I scouted out places around the yard where the treasure hoard could hide, without being too obvious. Once a suitable hidey-hole was established, I had to write the riddles, make the map and bury the treasure. All of which took the better part of a day. Plus, there was a lot of sand involved. I don’t like sand. There was a lot of swearing during that part.

In order to fulfill requirement 2 (proof that this was happening) I planned the whole shebang to take place on the upcoming day off from school. Catfish had already asked me three times if I would please please please make those doughnut things with all the powdered sugar for him again. I, being the sucker that I am, agreed.

Using the old “I’m going to make some fresh beignets, would you guys like to come over for a play date?” I was able to lure Catfish’s friend and his mom over that morning.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that difficult.

Map ready, treasure buried, beignets fried and liberally sprinkled, all we had to do was wait for the right time. After an hour we heard a few references to Finkmeister in their conversation. Then a few expectant sighs about a map. I asked if he’d checked for it lately…

OH MY GOODNESS! WHAT IS THAT THERE ON THE FRONT MAT?!?

OH MY GOODNESS! WHAT IS THAT THERE ON THE FRONT MAT?!?

The hunt is up! The hunt is up! And it is well nigh day!

To say this part was awesome would be an understatement. There were now TWO little boys standing in the front entryway, stunned speechless for the excitement of it. I think the best part was watching Catfish’s friend’s eyes go from “Yeah, I’ve heard you talk about Finkmeister” to “HOLY CRAP YOU WEREN’T KIDDING!!”

Here is the ‘map’:

Apparently, Finkmeister is just as bad at drawing maps as I am. Go figure.

Apparently, Finkmeister is just as bad at drawing maps as I am. Go figure.

It was priceless. Us moms had to move quickly because six year old boys in search of illicit treasure hoards are not to be trifled with. If we wanted to get any pictures at all, we had to haul ass. They were already on to the first clue:

"That's easy! Let's go talk to Heather!" "Okay! Who's Heather?"

“That’s easy! Let’s go talk to Heather!” “Okay! Who’s Heather?”

I don’t know who suggested Heather might be a plant. But soon enough, they were pawing through the shrubbery.

"I don't want to put my hand in there. You put YOUR hand in there." "I don't want to put MY hand in there...MOOOOM!"

“I don’t want to put my hand in there. You put YOUR hand in there.” “I don’t want to put MY hand in there…MOOOOM!”

And thus, a small plastic shovel was found. The second clue was much like the first. See if you can guess where we looked next:

Did you say SAGE? Because, you are so smart!

Did you say SAGE? Because, you are so smart!

And they found a plastic gardening fork.

The third clue was a hint to the location of the treasure:

Wow, he seems a little upset there.

Wow, he seems a little upset there.

And before we get too far, the fourth clue wasn’t a clue at all. It was Finkmeister delivering a slightly unsettling threat:

Told you! He's kinda being a jerk.

Told you! He’s kinda being a jerk.

But that part doesn’t matter, what matters is TREASURE!

And, of course…

"HOLY COW DUDE, THESE COINS ARE CHOCOLATE!!!!"

“HOLY COW DUDE, THESE COINS ARE CHOCOLATE!!!!”

 

I believe the sentiment they are trying to convey here is "HELLZ YEAH!"

I believe the sentiment they are trying to convey here is “HELLZ YEAH!”

For those of you who want to paw through Finkmeister’s treasure too:


Don’t miss out on the rest of the story!

Part 1: Finkmeister is a Jackass
Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap
Part 3: A Gentleman’s Duel
Part 4: Riddles Three, a Photo Essay.
Part 5: End Game.

Tooth Fairy Chronicles, Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap

While I’m away, on vacation, I thought it might be nice to revisit some old friends. Or rather, old enemies. This post is Part Two of the Tooth Fairy Chronicles originally published on Snickerpants.com.

***

Oh dear lord.

Currently, I am chewing my way through a 7PACK! BuBBLE GUM (the vaguely orange/diabetes flavored one) from Marukawa. I am not happy about this but it appears, I have no choice.

Remember way back, when I was a complete ass and forgot about the Tooth Fairy? And so I tried to make up for it by inventing a secret scroll with a message in invisible ink and hidden treasure?

Well, after Catfish came home that day (but but BEFORE he found the secret scroll) he ran to his room to see if the Tooth Fairy finally remembered his tooth. But he didn’t find anything, and by “anything” I mean “his tooth” I also mean “any money either”

His tooth was GONE and that thieving fairy hadn’t left a single red cent. Nothing.

Na. Da.

This time, he cried, big fat crocodile tears.

He was so sad that I almost told him to go check the mail with his dad – in order to get the ball rolling on the whole explanation thing. But I resisted. I knew that if I urged him then, I would endanger everything I had worked for, he would become suspicious.

He is a very suspicious kid.

So I sat there and watched as he was heart-wrenchingly disappointed, yet again, by the stupid Tooth Fairy. Brian and I pretended to look for his tooth and then (this was the hardest part) refrained from making a big deal over the fact that the Tooth Fairy was being a total jerk. We blamed the missing tooth on Katzu and changed the subject as fast as we could.

“Hey! Who wants to open up that sidewalk paint set?”

That worked, depending on your definition of “worked”. Our front stoop is now covered in a half-assed pattern of Spongbob-Squarepants-Yellow blobular anchors. Whatever. At least it took his mind off his disappointment.

(Excuse me while I switch over to the Strawberry gum. I think the Orange flavor is making my tongue go numb…)

Finally, enough time had elapsed. I jumped at my chance (slyly though because, as I have said, Catfish has been known to be suspicious of his mom. I cannot imagine why).

“Brian? Have you got the mail yet?”

Amazingly enough, he had not! Catfish jumped up and asked if he could go get the mail too because, when you’re six, it’s a huge deal if you’re allowed to get the mail and your little sister is not.

Thirty seconds later, Catfish came screaming up to the front porch.

“IGOTACHINESESCROLL! IGOTACHINESESCROLL!”

We read it together. Well, Brian read it. I was actually a little embarrassed and didn’t want to read it out loud. Because I’m like that. He’s six and I was worried he wouldn’t like the damn story.

(The Strawberry kind was actually sort-of okay, until now. Excuse me once more.)
Yep, still in his boxer shorts.

Yep, still in his boxer shorts.

Then something happened that I did not foresee. This is a failure on my part because as I have said before, our house is in a constant state of Red Alert: Code GET-DOWN-THERE’S-A-NINJA-BEHIND-YOU!

Not a day goes by that we aren’t knee deep in ninjas, skeletons, aliens, bad guys and (for some reason) Strawberry Shortcakes. It’s a miracle we can go from one room to the next without being detonated, decapitated or defenestrated. There are bad guys literally everywhere – and that evening, one of them threatened to rob our house.

Clearly, this was a call to action.

(I could have gone my entire life without tasting the FUSEN GuM flavor. It tastes like a vanilla soap dish. Seriously, what the hell is that supposed to be?)

For the past 48 hours we have been in lock-down. Catfish has told everyone that will listen about Finkmeister. He’s not picky. Anyone willing to look at him for half a second has been informed about Finkmeister and just exactly what he is going to do in order to catch him.

[Our dear Admiral Sparkle-Punch, on the other hand, has been demonstrating what she intends to do if she ever lays her hands on that Finkmeister. Let me just say that it is both adorable and somewhat disturbing to watch her pummel her little fist into her palm like that.]

Catfish must have been planning his revenge on Finkmeister all day long because as soon as we got home this evening, he set to work building a trap “just like Fred”

As in Fred Jones…from Scooby Doo. Because apparently, my kids think they are in an episode of “Scooby Doo Ninja Fairy Goblins – with Traps!” Or something.

He went about his business diligently and, in a short while, had a basic box trap set up, complete with a stick and a really long piece of string to yank it away. It’s blurry, but here is the only picture we could get without arousing suspicion:

 

Finkmeister Trap

Is it wrong that I find this HILARIOUS?

Please note that the trap is baited with $0.45 – two dimes and a quarter – because Finkmeister loves to steal money.

(OMG THE GREEN APPLE IS HORRIBLE. WHY WOULD ANYONE CHEW THIS GUM?!?)

Admiral Sparkle-Punch lost interest in the Finkmeister trap early on and wandered in to help me make dinner – but Catfish stayed. It was dark by the time he finally finished his overnight version of the trap. He made it so that it could be set off by the motion of Finkmeister’s nefarious dealings.

This is what he came up with:

Behold: the Overnight Finkmeister Trap

Behold: the Overnight Finkmeister Trap

The money ($0.45) is in the back of the yogurt box. If Finkmeister tries to go in there, he will jostle the box, causing the stick to fall and the box to drop. I’m not entirely sure what the wooden sword is for – either to chop off Finkmeister’s head or to make enough noise to wake Catfish up so that he can spring in to action.

(Wow, grape tastes kinda chloroformy.)

Every ten minutes or so, until bedtime, Catfish snuck up next to me and whispered:

“Mom, can I go outside and check my trap?”

FYI: The answer was always a subtle ‘yes’ with a nod.

I cannot let things go on like this.

As the responsible parent, I must do the right thing. I need to teach my child the value of… stuff and how to be compassionate and…stuff. Which is why, after I chew this last piece of bubble gum (the dreaded peach flavor) I am going outside to ruin my son’s trap by punching a hole in it. Then I’m going to steal my son’s money ($0.45) and leave tell-tale signs of that dastardly Finkmeister in my wake:

Chewed up bubble gum and spiders.


Don’t miss out on the rest of the story!

Part 1: Finkmeister is a Jackass
Part 2: The Overnight Finkmeister Trap
Part 3: A Gentleman’s Duel
Part 4: Riddles Three, a Photo Essay.
Part 5: End Game.

Worst Movie Experience? Oh, that’s easy.

When I was in 6th grade we lived in Park Ridge, NJ. The town was so small it had only one high school and it was 6th-12th grade. It was pretty cool actually. There were no buses. There was a lunch service but it was tiny and most kids ate at Pop’s, the lunch counter/diner next door. We could go get sandwiches and malted and stuff. I’m not even kidding. It’s like a holdover from 1953.

I remember my science teacher as being one of my favorite people. She taught me how to photograph snowflakes. She also taught me the value of the metric system. She was a great lady.

Another favorite was my English teacher. She was super nice. She always had exciting stories to tell us about her brother, Bobby. He was an actor, and she would light up the room with wild tales of his from Hollywood. Of course none of us had ever heard of him but she talked about him like he was a super star and that was enough to convince us.

I met Bobby once. He came to our school performance of Oliver! To him, I was probably just another 6th-grade orphan, covered in mud and fake Cockney accent. But to me, he had this magical aura around him for he was Bobby, Ms Leonard’s brother.

Soon after that we moved away from Park Ridge back to Washington state. I went back to being a left-coast teen ager, probably more annoying than most. The summer before I started 9th grade, my mom and step-dad took us to see the new Oscar-bait movie with Robin Williams, Dead Poet’s Society.

Yeah.

I had no idea Bobby was short for Robert.

Let me tell you, it’s a weird experience to see your 6th grade English teacher’s brother starring in a movie with Robin Williams.

Source: GIF: Maurice Moss Eating Popcorn in Front of Computer | Gifrific

 

Anyway, let’s skip ahead 5 years. Robert Sean Leonard is a now movie star. He’s not a SUPER star but you can sort of tell he’s heading there and I thought that was Rad. I mean, how can that not be cool? I made it a point to watch the movies he was in (solidarity, yo’) and I made my friends watch his movies too. Some of them weren’t the best, but I wasn’t the best judge of movies so everything was fine.

Until Swing Kids.

I’d never walked out of a movie in my life until that day. Hell, I didn’t know you were allowed to walk out of a movie so it never would have occurred to me. But red flags were all over that joint, right from the start: the stony-eyed look of the ticket seller, the empty theater, the fact that there was only one showing on the schedule—and that was the late show. Like a fool, I ignored all these signs.

I tried to like it. I really did. When they started dancing, I thought it was a mistake. I believe my exact thought was,

“Are they really doing that?”

But then the huge dance number came on where all the kids punch the air and shout Swing Heil! and I realized that, yes, they were really doing that.

That’s when I ran. I would have abandoned my friends to their fate had it not been for the fact that they were there, shoving me out of the way to get to the door first.

We never spoke of that night again.

Of course Robert Sean Leonard went on to become a huge star. I still like him too, even after Swing Kids. Hell, it’s actually because of Swing Kids that I like him. He taught the world a valuable lesson.

No matter how good your actors are, without a good writer you’re just swing dancing in Nazi Germany.

 

Want to hear more bad theater experiences? Check out more stories from these awesome authors right here:

Camela Thompson

Mike Munz

Elise Stephens